Dates of NHS strikes and areas affected

Nurses’ Strikes – Leon Neal/Getty Images

Nurses are set to go on strike again across England in February amid an ongoing pay dispute.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union carried out two strikes in December resulting in the cancellation of more than 30,000 surgeries and appointments, followed by another strike on 19 January.

The RCN is demanding a 19 percent wage increase, which the government has rejected as “unachievable”.

Commenting on the strikes, Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, said: “The government had the opportunity to end this dispute before Christmas but instead chose to push nursing staff back into the cold in January.

“I don’t want to prolong this dispute, but the prime minister has left us no choice.

“The public’s support warms the heart and I am more than ever convinced that this is the right thing for patients and the future of the NHS.”

She added that “the voice of nurses will not be ignored” and that “the sooner ministers come to the negotiating table, the sooner this can be resolved”.

When is the next nurses’ strike?

  • Wednesday, January 18

  • Thursday, January 19

  • Monday, February 6

  • Tuesday, February 7

Because the strikes take place on consecutive days, they may cause more disruption than the first two days of the December 15 and 20 strikes.

Despite claims that up to 100,000 nurses would go on strike in December, figures from England show fewer than 12,000 nurses did so.

However, some nurses who wanted to go on strike may not have been assigned to work, and others will be required to work in excluded services.

Which hospitals will be affected?

The next wave of strikes will involve more trusts – around one in three will be involved, up from one in four in December.

A total of 55 trusts in England were affected by the strike on 18 and 19 January, compared with 44 when the strikes took place before Christmas.

This time there will be no strikes in Wales and Northern Ireland.

However, the strike action will intensify even further in February, involving 73 trusts. Around 12 health boards and organizations in Wales will also be taking part in the action.

The RCN said it would not take action in Northern Ireland next month, while in Scotland strike action remains on hold as negotiations continue.

The unions said agreements made to protect certain services during the December strikes would not be automatically extended.

Emergency care is protected from strikes and an agreement was reached in December to exempt a number of services from industrial action.

However, cancer patients were still among those who saw surgeries and appointments canceled.

While the RCN is demanding a 19 per cent pay rise, Ms Cullen has suggested the union may be willing to accept a 10 per cent increase after urging the government to meet it ‘halfway’.

Young Doctors’ Strike

Around 45,000 young doctors are now voting in the British Medical Association on whether to go on strike. Medics will be asked to support the strikes, which will begin with a three-day strike in March.

The BMA said such action would begin with “full strikes” – including emergency cover removal – for 72 hours.

BMA leaders have already said junior doctors are “very likely” to vote for strikes as part of a campaign to raise wages by more than a quarter.

The doctors’ industrial action would be the first since 2016, when four periods of industrial action led to the cancellation of nearly 300,000 appointments and surgeries.

A 72-hour strike would be much longer than such strikes, which lasted up to 48 hours each.

The removal of emergency cover means NHS funding will be forced to second senior doctors to carry out tasks normally performed by juniors.

The 72-hour strike is expected to take place in March and may coincide with the strike of GMB ambulance workers, who are on strike on March 6 and 20.

Ambulance strikes

Thousands of ambulance workers across the country are also on strike over pay. Another strike is planned for February 6 (GMB and Unite unions). Additional dates for February have also been announced.

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